I've been saving this Easter gift for a sunny day where I'm not driving to work, and a couple of weeks ago one of those finally happened.
I know, that's incredibly sad, but this is Ireland. We thrive upon this sort of thing.
This Boon Kriek Mariage Parfait dates from 2011, so has been treated to three years of age and, presumably, flavour development. My limited understanding leads me to believe that the fruit will by now be playing a lesser part than at the time of bottling, with more sourness to the fore. This was certainly the case with the aroma, with plenty of spiky farmhouse stuff hitting the nose first, followed by a damp earthiness and just the slightest touch of tart fruit hiding underneath. I was therefore surprised that the flavour was a slow starter; even though the palate is washed with sour graininess, there's no aggression to the attack, and eventually there appears tangy and sour cherry, without any of the sweet backing I expected I might find from a beer with so much fruit. Also surprising is the way in which the sharp sourness of the flavour rounds out with herbal, almondy notes at the finish. As such, the beer remains refreshing and drinkable despite its age and character.
Overall a relatively approachable yet boldly-flavoured beer, if that even makes sense.